The United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) is demanding an emergency meeting with Alberta’s UCP Health Minister.

The union says hundreds of front-line Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses will lose their jobs in massive downsizing planned by Alberta Health Services.

In a news release Friday, UNA President Heather Smith says the elimination of that many RN and RPN FTEs, equivalent to over a million fewer hours of care, will mean more than 750 front-line Registered Nurses will be laid off.

“Premier Jason Kenney and other members of the United Conservative Party promised repeatedly during last spring’s election campaigns that the cuts they planned would not touch front-line health care workers,” says Smith

Premier Kenney was asked about the cuts during a trip to Lake Louise to speak to a business conference. He told reporters Friday his government has always been clear that getting the province’s finances back in order will require some reduction in the size of the overall public service, and that they hope to achieve that primarily through attrition.

Alberta’s NDP Opposition is voicing concerns over the layoffs. New Democrat Health Critic, David Shepherd says this will have a serious impact on both patient care, and on communities where the hospital is a major employer. “The premier’s warning that bed closures are on the way is a direct threat to Alberta’s rural hospitals,” Shepherd said.

The Friends of Medicare issued a statement Friday as well saying this is not a solution to balancing the budget and not what Albertans voted for.

Report have the restructuring starting as early as 2020.

(Files from UNA Release & CBC)